Advances In Fingerprint Biometric Technology

For many years now, the promise of biometrics has not been fully realized in large part because performance in the lab is not representative of performance in the field. That’s the reason major locksmiths began shying away from biometrics. As one...


Behavioral differences across user populations can affect performance. Some people may tend to press hard and others, being more tentative, may barely touch the sensor at all. For technologies that depend on the quality of that touch, this can be a big problem.

Multispectral Technology

Multispectral imaging is a sophisticated technology developed to overcome the fingerprint capture problems conventional imaging systems have in less-than-ideal conditions. This more effective solution is based on using multiple spectrums of light and advanced polarization techniques to extract unique fingerprint characteristics from both the surface and subsurface of the skin. The nature of human skin physiology is such that this subsurface information is both relevant to fingerprint capture and unaffected by surface wear and other environmental factors.

The fingerprint ridges that we see on the surface of the finger have their foundation beneath the surface of the skin, in the capillary beds and other sub-dermal structures. The fingerprint ridges we see on our fingertips are merely an echo of the foundational “inner fingerprint”. Unlike the surface fingerprint characteristics that can be obscured by moisture, dirt or wear, the “inner fingerprint” lies undisturbed and unaltered beneath the surface. When surface fingerprint information is combined with subsurface fingerprint information and reassembled in an intelligent and integrated manner, the results are more consistent, more inclusive and more tamper-resistant.

Multispectral fingerprint sensors capture high-quality images because the direct imaging process does not depend on a clean finger/sensor interface. At last, biometrics can provide the same type of reliability as a card but removes all the negatives of the card, including cost of the cards themselves and the more expensive cost of managing cards. After all, nobody leaves their finger at home nor does it wear out.

Operation is simple. The user comes up to the reader, lays his/her finger on the reader, and an image is captured. The unique points are translated into information that is compared to that on file. If they match, the user sees a green light, the lock output is energized and the user walks through the door.

Importantly, now biometrics, which determines that you are you – not what you carry – can be sold by locksmiths with confidence in more places and more applications. For example, more than 40 million people are already enrolled on multispectral imaging-based systems at locales ranging from the classic door access control situation to the gates of the world’s favorite theme parks. Such readers are keeping borders secure around the world. Indeed, more than 400,000 people pass through multispectral imaging sensors every day at the Hong Kong border crossing.

Bill Spence is vice president, transaction systems, for Lumidigm.

 

To read additional Locksmith Ledger articles on biometrics, visit http://tinyurl.com/biometrics0611.

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